Buying Guide

Enamored with Enamel

 

Looking for a pop of color or a tropical-inspired design? Enamel might just be the perfect thing for you! From opaque to translucent, the technique of enameling allows skilled artisans to add shades of intrigue to all kinds of jewelry.

 
.10 ct. t.w. White Topaz and Multicolored Enamel Critter Ring in Sterling Silver #930735

Enamel goes back — way back! In fact, it dates as far as Ancient Egypt, 2000 BC — and since, the colorful practice of enameling has been used in jewelry for centuries across various cultures. While also appearing in medieval and Renaissance-era items, it’s believed we have the Byzantine Empire to thank for enamel’s most notable fame.


 

So, How’s it Done?

A few ways — epoxy-based resin is either inlaid in metal, painted or dropped. Once the hues have been applied using a vacuum syringe to achieve the utmost precision, they’re then fired in a kiln at high temperatures. Skilled artisans work tirelessly to ensure the entire process is executed seamlessly. One wrong move could mean a piece gets scrapped. Some of the more popular, well-known enamel techniques are: cathedral, cloisonné and plique-à-jour. Cathedral plays on the stained-glass windows of ancient European churches. Cloisonné uses thin strips of wire to separate each section set on metal backings. Plique-à-jour, while similar to cloisonné, offers a light-filtering appearance with no backing.

 

Our Enamel Jewelry Collection

At Ross-Simons, much of our collection is made in Italy. Known for their luxurious handmade works of art, Italians have expertly honed enameling for centuries. From exotic animal print bangles to cathedral-inspired fashion rings, enamel lets you show off your individual style. Looking for brand name designers, children’s bracelets or vintage-inspired rings? Those sought-after styles are just a few of the enamel-laden treasures you can treat yourself or a loved one to today!


 

Keep it Clean — and Safe

As with most fine jewelry and precious metals, you should avoid wearing enamel while swimming in the ocean or a pool. It’s always best to remove them when showering or using any kind of chemicals, such as dish soap. These measures help prevent the enamel from becoming cloudy or discolored. To avoid chipping and scratching, you should store these items carefully, so they aren’t brushing up against other pieces.

 

In Conclusion...

Another form of enameling was born in the late 1980s that utilized a cooling method, rather than heat. This new, low-cost process fosters the same results, but allows for a wider variety of colors and metals to be used. Whether your enamel pick was a product of cooling or heating, is a bright cocktail ring or leopard-print bangle, enamel has proven itself to be a timeless trend that’s here to stay.